Addiction comes in many shapes and forms, and it’s not always as commonly recognized as alcoholism or drug abuse. It’s a complicated disease that can range from physical illness to psychological and behavioral patterns, posing a great risk to the overall wellbeing and quality of life of individuals. The health issues that accompany addiction depend on the substance in question. Short-term effects can usually be detected in the early stages, but the relatively hidden, long-term outcomes are harder to deal with. So if you’d like to expand your knowledge about the rather sinister consequences of addiction, here’s a list of some of the most common ones.
Whereas possible injuries and direct contact with harmful infections such as hepatitis C and HIV through drug use are immediately detectable; most types of addiction take their toll on the human body in the long run. As the body adapts to the presence of a substance, it needs increasing amounts of it, causing the user to develop a physical dependence. During this process, the body becomes more and more tolerant of the substance, meaning that the immediate side effects may not always be apparent.
However, constant use of the substance keeps building up damage to various organs of the body. Alcohol abuse can cause liver diseases like cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis, or cardiovascular issues. The effects of hallucinogens like LSD and MDMA may range from memory impairments and brain damage to hormone imbalances. In most cases, long-term addiction weakens the immune system, interfering with the body’s general ability to fight infections and heal itself after ailments.
Global Body Changes
Aside from the proven effects of different substances on specific organs of the body, many drugs cause global changes throughout the body, such as dramatic changes of appetite and increase in body temperature. On the long run, even an undetected fluctuation in the normal routine of these bodily functions can have an impact on various health conditions, creating future complications that are difficult to link to present cases.
Mental Health Problems
Addiction is a disease that is strongly connected to the psychology of affected individuals. Drug use can not only set off the symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it can alter brain functions and cause increased levels of stress, restlessness, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. Studies show that people addicted to drugs are about twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders than the general population. Of course, this might also lead to impairment in personal life, damaging the relationships between users and their social circles.
Quitting a physical dependence is not always a matter of personal choice. Most addictive substances cause withdrawal symptoms in users, which can range from trembling to vomiting, muscle cramps, and potentially fatal conditions like seizures. Withdrawing from some drugs, such as alprazolam (Xanax) can be more difficult than others. If that is the case, you might want to study your options, reach out to professionals and seek Xanax help from an experienced medical professional. You or a loved one suffering from addiction may not be feeling ready to take this challenging step, or may be making excuses to justify their behaviors—which is a very common case—but with the right amount of support, awareness, and clinical supervision, future health damage related to drug abuse can be brought under control.
Luckily, there are many successful treatment options out there for people suffering from addiction. You can check out the best detoxification programs for you or your family members battling with drug abuse, for a relatively simple first step to recovery. Then, depending on the specific condition of the individual in question, you can look into some long-term options: inpatient treatment involves twenty-four-hour professional care of a live-in facility, while outpatient treatment allows patients to continue living in their own homes, attending treatment sessions and programs on a regular basis. No matter which option suits the patient’s needs and lifestyle, what’s really important is that they are willing to commit to their recovery process, and to take a step towards health and peace of mind.